If you’re like a lot of people in the mortgage industry, you probably started with a business card and a massive question, “Why me?” Why would a borrower choose you to help them with their mortgage? Why would a real estate professional or a referral partner choose you to help their clients?
For many, the answer is to outwork everyone. It’s to show up at every event, every open house and get in front of as many people as possible. As it turns out, the old saying that “90% of life is about showing up” actually translates to a career in mortgage origination. If you turn out for these events and put in the work, you will eventually see results. Still, there’s a ceiling for success with this method. To go beyond your peak, you need to stand out.
You need to understand that your client has to undergo a transformational experience. Your competitors are not even in the mortgage space — they are companies that provide superior customer service, such as Four Seasons, Amazon, Apple and Nordstrom. You are playing the game of living in your clients’ reticular activating system, the part of the brain that stores both good and bad memories.
In order to deliver an experience so memorable and so positive that it lodges deep in the minds of your clients, you should ask yourself a question: Are you making a successful sale or are you making a successful homeowner?
Consider this example. A couple buys a house together but, two years later, the wife needs to sell it. Her husband died unexpectedly and didn’t have life insurance. Their extended family is unable to assist financially and, on top of it, there’s two years of deferred maintenance on the home.
The mortgage originator helped the couple get preapproved, worked with them on their financing options and ultimately helped get their loan funded. So, yes, it was a successful sale. But was this a successful homeownership venture?
A proactive originator will aim to help his or her clients become successful homeowners. That means asking whether the clients have life or disability insurance, and helping them understand why these tools are so important. It also means checking on how things are playing out in their new home over the next few years, as well as having a conversation with the client about their generational wealth plan.
Mortgage professionals help clients purchase the largest asset in their life (a home) and sell them the largest debt they owe (a mortgage). Too often, however, the mortgage originator then says something to the effect of “good luck.” Sure, originators will keep in touch with clients, but this is often about marketing rather than adding substantive value to the borrowers’ lives in relation to real estate and finance.
A standard loan officer or mortgage broker will ask the questions on the loan application, preapprove the client and get the loan funded, all with good service. The way to transform your business, however, is to view it as your responsibility to offer much more to clients.
When you first connect with a potential client, ask every imaginable question that pertains to real estate and finance. Try to look at the client’s holistic financial picture in order to give the most accurate advice and most valuable guidance.
Once you have established what is in the best interest of the client and advised them on the pros and cons of a home purchase, you need to dig deeper. What can you do to help them transition from one home to the next while saving time, energy and money? Can you help them understand the value of their home over time and how that impacts their wealth? You should be able to offer them perspective on their finances — not only at the time of the transaction but down the road as well.
This is what separates you from your competitors, if their main objective is only to sell debt while discussing rates and terms. The top mortgage originators are committed to proactively helping clients achieve their long-term goals. Once people understand this level of substantive value exists, they will fall in love with it and depend on it. And they may even be upset that they didn’t get this value from previous real estate and mortgage professionals.
Borrowers should know what to do with the largest asset they are likely to acquire as well as the largest debt they are likely to incur.
Now ask yourself again, “Why me?” Other than your ability to close on time, your relationships, and the cost of your products and services, why would a client choose you? There are almost always lower rates and fees available.
Then ask yourself, “What true value do I offer my clients outside of the transaction?” You should identify the ways you are positively impacting your clients’ lives before they decide to buy a home and, more importantly, after they buy one. You should know whether your clients simply end up owning a home or if they are successful homeowners who are growing generational wealth, saving money, avoiding bad decisions and planning for future real estate goals.
It doesn’t make you a bad loan originator if you sell a mortgage and move onto the next transaction. You’re delivering a service that your client needs. The mortgage industry, however, desperately needs to be transformed.
Borrowers should know what to do with the largest asset they are likely to acquire as well as the largest debt they are likely to incur. It is irresponsible for real estate and mortgage professionals to assume that clients already have this information. And it is poor judgment for clients to assume that they will know exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it at each stage in their lives.
Clients have a choice between cheap or valuable options. If they choose the cheap route, borrowers need to know that all of the ancillary responsibilities of owning real estate and managing their finances will lie squarely on their shoulders. If they choose a mortgage originator who provides holistic value, however, the client will find a partner who helps them navigate the next 30-plus years of their real estate and financial lives.
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The future of the mortgage industry will be bright for those who move beyond the act of merely helping a client complete a real estate transaction. Will you choose to be the cheap option or the person who makes a real difference in the lives of your clients? Once the consumer knows that this type of mortgage professional exists, they are unlikely to settle for anything less. •